Monday, April 04, 2011

On Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens shouldn't leave Butler.

Why should he? He got to two straight national-title games there. Why would he have a better shot at that if he was at a "big" program? (Let's ask Bill Self or Jamie Dixon or...)

Here's the amazing thing about college basketball: Presuming you get into the Tournament -- and Stevens will, perennially -- all you have to do is win 4 straight to be a "Final Four coach."

And, as Stevens has proven, he can win 4 straight against the best of them, against all styles, against all talents.

That's it: Four straight for a Final Four. Five straight to make the title game. Six straight to win a national title -- which I still think he'll win tonight.

The only thing Butler can't offer Stevens is money, which is why I advocated my alma mater Northwestern offering Stevens $4 million a year for 10 years -- guaranteed -- to come to Evanston and be the Midwest's Coach K.

Don't think he's worth it? The lifetime value of Stevens -- already one of the top 3 coaches in college basketball (No. 1 if you factor in age) -- vastly exceeds any other coach out there. He should be paid like Coach K, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, Roy Williams, John Calipari.

I agree with those who say Stevens can pick his next job, and it can be at the highest level: Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Indiana (not a great job anymore, but Stevens' home state).

Duke and UNC won't be offered to him -- no matter how much their alums might ask -- and for some reason, Indiana feels like they have a few years before they inevitably fire Tom Crean and make a play for Stevens. Maybe they know IU is Stevens' dream job and he is more than willing to wait patiently at Butler for it, even if it takes 5 years.

The one wildcard is Kentucky. I don't know if John Calipari wants to coach in the NBA again, but if UK came open and they came calling, that's a hard job for Stevens to turn down.

And yet I think he would. (How awesome would that be?) I think he is entirely happy with Butler. He has shown he can win at the highest level there.

What more does a coach need?

-- D.S.

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